Thursday, November 30, 2017

When Profit Seeking Trumps Community Building

As city populations increase across the globe, it is critical that growth is managed in a way that develops healthy, thriving communities. Unrestrained building for profit's-sake does not come without negative outcomes as outlined in this case of housing development in Mexico (Profit-Seeking Housing Development).  The consequences have important implications for community sustainability, health, and the success of local schools.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation's classrooms

More Latinas are becoming teachers and reshaping our nation's classrooms

Latinas in education make up the largest category of Latina professionals.

by Stephen A. Nuño /

File photo of children at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center in Kennett Square, Pa.Matt Rourke / AP file

The growth of the Latino population in the United States will have a lasting cultural and intellectual impact beyond the arts, food and celebrations. More and more, it's Latina teachers who our shaping our classrooms and our children's education, argues Glenda Flores, a sociologist in the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at UC Irvine.
In her new book Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture, Flores' research shows the impact of the growing numbers of Latinas who are going into teaching.
Latinas in education make up the largest category of Latina professionals, outpacing the next largest category, nursing, by three times. Data from the Department of Labor shows that Latinas make up the fastest growing non-White group to be entering the teaching profession.
 Latino Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture New York University Press
Flores writes that the influx of Latinas in education comes from a confluence of historical and social factors she calls the class ceiling. Difficulties in balancing family obligations along with managing structural social forces of gender, ethnicity, and demographic changes channeled Latinas into education.
Women of Latino origin are more than 18 percent of teachers in California, creating a "Latinization" of the profession, whereas they were once a token of the profession in the 1980s.
Beyond the language barriers that Latina teachers help bridge are culture-specific pedagogies that go unappreciated when the teaching population is not diverse. One aspect Flores brings attention to is children with immigrant parents who seek help from their parents on their math homework. Mathematics, says Flores, is not a universal language, and approaches to problem-solving in division and multiplication, for instance, often differ in the United States than they do in Mexico. Immigrant parents who were trained to solve problems using different techniques, Flores found, were hampered when trying to help their children. Latina teachers, however, were able to recognize this from their own experiences with math and were more open to alternative methods that ultimately served the students better.


Emma Cadena is a self-identified Latina teacher born to an Irish mother and Mexican-American father. Her blond hair and green eyes may seem out of place in Santa Ana, where Latinos make up 78 percent of the population and have an all-Latino city council, but Cadena was raised by her father in Santa Ana. Her classroom is adorned with lessons in Mexican culture, from the Diego Rivera painting on her classroom wall to her ensemble of Mexican crafts, including Day of the Dead skeletons and a Lucha Libre mask. Cadena also hangs a poster of Cesar Chavez in her classroom, the civil rights leader who helped lead the struggle to unionize farm workers in California and a reminder of how Latinos have shaped our national history.
California has gone through a demographic transformation since the time of Governor Pete Wilson's infamous politicization of immigrants through Proposition 187 in the 1990's, the law that institutionalized citizenship screening processes for access to public services, such as education.
Latinos now make up 52 percent of all K-12 students in California. According to Pew Research, 64 percent of the Hispanic population in California is native born. Astonishingly, the median age of this group is 19 years, less than half the median age of foreign-born Hispanics, which is 43 years old. The median age of non-Hispanic whites in California is 45 years old. In other words, despite any future walls on the border with Mexico, it won't do much to prevent the Golden State from turning a golden brown.
 Glenda Flores Steve Zylius / UCI Steve Zylius / UCI
While California was going through rapid demographic changes, the need for bilingual teachers also grew throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until bilingual education was eventually banned by law in 1998. However, the demand for these teachers, along with the shifts in population, had created a perfect storm of sorts that established a pathway for Latinas into the field.
California recently reinstated bilingual education with the passing of Proposition 58, ending the English-only teaching era that is sure to continue California's transformation. Today, California students are twice as likely than other Americans to speak a language other than English, at 45 percent.
Flores says she became interested in education, because growing up in Santa Ana she too thought about becoming a bilingual elementary school teacher. However, as she continued her education she got a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and began looking at statistics, noticing the trends in Latina teachers. She began her research to see how these trends were impacting students and her research landed her a job as a professor at UC Irvine's Department of Chicano/a Studies.


Recent headlines have focused on the political gains made by Latinas — in Virginia, Elizabeth Guzmán and Hala Ayala recently made history as the first Latinas elected to the state's House of Delegates, beating Republican male incumbents. Latinas made headlines in Santa Barbara, CA and Topeka, KS as well; Cathy Murillo became the first Latina mayor of Santa Barbara and Michelle De la Isla the first one in Topeka.
But leadership in government is not the only sphere impacted by growing numbers of Latinas running for office. Flores' research in Santa Ana, CA illustrates that our children's formative years will be increasingly shaped by Latinas, as well.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

To Texas University and College Faculty: Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz need to hear from you

This e-mail went out yesterday at UT. I am so glad to see the Executive Committees of the Faculty Council and the Graduate Assembly of The University of Texas at Austin issue this statement this morning. At issue is the repeal of the student loan interest deduction and other sections of the IRS tax code (Sections 117(d) and 127).

Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz need to hear from all of us right away. Tax reform should not get done on the backs of our already indebted graduate students.  Talk about discouraging them and rendering a serious blow to higher education at the same time.

I teach masters and doctoral-level students and they all inspire the hope for a better world. 

Graduate students, by all means make calls, as well. You and your parents have a direct interest in the outcome of this so-called tax reform legislation.

Angela Valenzuela

Monday, November 27, 2017

At a Navajo veterans' event, Trump makes 'Pocahontas' crack

This is totally racist.  Trump just couldn't help himself. For one so concerned about Senator Warren's DNA, he should take a look at his own for an explanations as to why he invariably succeeds at being so horribly offensive and condescending.  Thanks to Dr. Maricela Oliva for sharing.


At a Navajo veterans' event, Trump makes 'Pocahontas' crack


Updated 5:56 PM ET, Mon November 27, 2017
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump, during an event at the White House honoring Navajo code talkers Monday, referenced his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, "Pocahontas," a label he has long used about the Massachusetts Democrat.
"I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here," Trump said. "Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time ... longer than you -- they call her Pocahontas!"
He then turned to one of the code talkers behind him, put his left hand on the man's shoulder and said: "But you know what, I like you. You are special people."
Trump did not name Warren.
Sarah Sanders said Monday the use of "Pocahontas" was not a racial slur and that it "certainly was not the President's intent" to use a racial slur.

"I don't believe that it is appropriate" to use a racial slur, Sanders said during her daily briefing, but added that she didn't think Trump's comment was such a slur.
Sanders then targeted Warren, saying that "the most offensive thing" was Warren claiming to be Native American.
"I think Sen. Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career, and I don't understand why no one is asking about that question and why that isn't constantly covered," Sanders said.
The comment, met with silence from event attendees, revives an insult the President has long thrust upon Warren but restated during a high-profile meeting with the Native American war heroes.

"It is deeply unfortunate that the President of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur. Donald Trump does this over and over thinking somehow he is going to shut me up with it. It hasn't worked out in the past, it isn't going to work out in the future," Warren told MSNBC shortly after Trump's remark.
Pocahontas was a historical figure from the 17th Century and using her name in an intentionally disparaging way insults native peoples and degrades their cultures. The largest Native American advocacy group has said that is why it has condemned the President's usage in this manner.
Looking on as Trump derided Warren and heralded the three Navajo World War II heroes was a portrait of Andrew Jackson, a former president who signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The act allowed the federal government to remove Native Americans from their land.
Among the results was the "Trail of Tears," when roughly 17,000 Cherokees were forced out of Georgia at gun point and moved to present-day Oklahoma. Thousands of Cherokees died on the journey.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a statement that he appreciated "the honor and recognition that has been bestowed upon the Navajo Code Talkers" but noted "all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people."
"The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy," Begaye said. "
As Native Americans, we are proud people who have taken care of this land long before there was the United States of America and we will continue to fight for this Nation."
The National Congress of American Indians -- the largest and oldest group representing Native Americans -- has condemned Trump's use of "Pocahontas" to deride Warren, noting that the famed Native American was a real person whose historic significance is still important to her tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia.
"We cannot and will not stand silent when our Native ancestors, cultures and histories are used in a derogatory manner for political gain," Jacqueline Pata, the group's executive director, said earlier this year after Trump called Warren "Pocahontas" at a speech before the National Rifle Association.
Conservatives have previously criticized Warren for claiming that she is part Native American, and the senator's heritage became an issue during her Senate campaigns.
Trump has seized on the attacks and has regularly called Warren "Pocahontas." The attack dates back to his 2016 campaign.
"Pocahontas is at it again," he tweeted in June 2016. "Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth. Hope she is V.P. choice."
He added, "Crooked Hillary is wheeling out one of the least productive senators in the U.S. Senate, goofy Elizabeth Warren, who lied on heritage."
And earlier this month, he added, "Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept."
He has also used the nickname privately.
Sources told CNN earlier this year that during a meeting with senators at the White House, Trump taunted Democrats by saying "Pocahontas is now the face of your party."
Trump has routinely given his political opponents nicknames, but the slight against Warren is one of his most culturally insensitive.
Warren says she is, in fact, part Native American, citing "family stories" passed down through generations of her family.
"I am very proud of my heritage," Warren told NPR in 2012. "These are my family stories. This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mammaw and my pappaw. This is our lives. And I'm very proud of it."
The legitimacy of Warren's heritage has been widely debated and Scott Brown, her 2012 Senate campaign opponent, has even suggested Warren take a DNA test to prove her heritage.
Harvard Law School in the 1990s touted Warren, then a professor in Cambridge, as being "Native American." They singled her out, Warren later acknowledged, because she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory.
Critics seized on the listing, saying that she received preferential treatment for questionable Native American heritage. Warren contends that her career was never furthered because of her Native American genealogy.
CNN's Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

Puerto Ricans Moving to the Mainland US will Remember at the Voting Booth

"As American citizens living on the island, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in presidential elections and can send only nonvoting representatives to Congress. But once they make the move and are living on the mainland, they only need to register to be eligible to vote."

While Puerto Ricans may not be able to vote in presidential elections, their influence will be ever-increasing and likely to work against the Republican Party in the coming elections (Puerto Rican Political Backlash). As more and more Puerto Ricans come to the mainland US, they will register to vote and will become a sizable voting bloc, who likely will not be voting for republicans. 

Great News! TCU is offering Ethnic Studies for the First Time

Texas Christian University (TCU) is offering for the first time an ethnic studies course called, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES). The students now want it to be part of the required curriculum.  This is understandable in a world so conflicted by race and diversity in so many ways.  

It's nevertheless telling that a course like this gets attention from the press. This shows just how far behind we are in an area that is so vital to our well being as a country. 

I myself am currently teaching a course like this in my department titled, "Race and Ethnicity in the Schools"—and have been for years.  My students, many of them who are former teachers, invariably say, "Why am I just barely learning this?"  "This could have really helped me when I was a teacher."  

Insufficiently appreciated is how taking courses like these can make such a massive difference in students' lives—and as a consequence, in schools and society.  So happy for TCU!

Angela Valenzuela

TCU Major Forces Students to Face Racial 

Tensions Head-On

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How Texas can end its bilingual teacher shortage

Even as we read this terrible news account on how the U.S. could lose an estimated 20,000 teachers, many bilingual, as DACA is phased out—which many of us hope will not actually happen—UNT Dallas is moving in a different direction under the excellent leadership of Dean John Gasko and many others, including Macario Hernandez, Hector Flores, Florencia Velasco Fortner, president and CEO of The Concilio, former UNT-Dallas Dean Sheryl Santos-Hackett.
Artist Hector Rodriguez
I love their super-hero, marketing approach, as it helps make the field attractive—which it of course is and can be—for the right individuals.
Dallas' Grow Your Own (GYO) educator project is an initiative of the National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP [pronounced "nel-rap"]) cited in my edited volume, Growing Critically Conscious Teachers.  Our dream is to grow critically conscious teachers everywhere—a majority of whom we hope are additionally bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate.  I'm so happy to see H-E-B and the Meadows Foundation come through for our community in Dallas, Texas.

I should additionally note that Dean Gasko is a former student of mine and graduate of the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership (formerly, the Department of Educational Administration) at the University of Texas at Austin.  You make us very proud, John.
This is not only a game changer, but also a dream come true. So I'm mostly happy for our students and our state.

Angela Valenzuela

One in five kids struggles with English in the state’s public schools, and they don’t have nearly enough teachers to help them all.
So the University of North Texas at Dallas is investing millions to build a bilingual teacher “superhighway” to train more of these badly needed educators through its Emerging Teachers Institute.
The institute is recruiting aggressively through grass-roots campaigns and now offers an accelerated pathway to a degree for some students.  
 That’s gotten the attention of Luis Borja, a Sunset High School freshman who already knows he wants to be a bilingual teacher. At just 15 years old, Luis recently attended a symposium organized by UNT-Dallas where he learned about a young Oak Cliff community activist who taught third grade at his old elementary school.
Luis can see himself doing the same. Growing up, he was frustrated for classmates who struggled to learn because there weren’t enough teachers who could speak to them in their native Spanish.
“Someone has to be the leader to help them get on their feet,” he said. “In elementary, I saw how some couldn’t communicate and had trouble speaking. I felt bad for them. How come there was no one to help them? How come no one could step up and be a leader for them?”

Luis Borja, 15, takes part in a teaching symposium with Tamara Robinson, workplace learning coordinator, at Sunset High School Collegiate Academy.

(David Woo/Staff Photographer)
Luis is now on what educators hope will be a fast track for him to be that leader. Sunset’s new collegiate academy includes a focus on bilingual education that allows students to earn an associate’s degree from Mountain View College by the time they graduate high school. They can then seamlessly transfer to UNT-Dallas to earn a teaching certification.
Texas has 1 million students who struggle with English. Even as the number of kids needing assistance has grown, the pool of qualified bilingual teachers has been shrinking sharply.

Texas is desperate for bilingual teachers

The number of educators who work in bilingual or ESL classes has plummeted over the past decade. The state now has about one such teacher for every 48 students in need.

Meet the Texas pastor who opposes public funding of religious education — and fights the Koch agenda

We must continue to work to preserve public education—not as it is, but as it should be.  Glad to learn hear about Pastors for Texas Children.  Thanks to Caroline Sweet for sharing and to Valerie Strauss for posting this on her Answer Sheet in the Washington Post. -Angela

Meet the Texas pastor who opposes public funding of religious education — and fights the Koch agenda

Pastor Charles Foster Johnson speaking in October at the 2017 conference of the Network for Public Education in Oakland, Calif. (Network for Public Education Action/YouTube)
If you don’t know who Charles Foster Johnson is, here’s your chance to get acquainted. Johnson is the executive director of the nonprofit organization called Pastors for Texas Children, an independent ministry and outreach group that comprises nearly 2,000 pastors and church leaders from across Texas. Its mission, according to its website:
To provide “wrap-around” care and ministry to local schools, principals, teachers, staff and schoolchildren, and to advocate for children by supporting our free, public education system, to promote social justice for children, and to advance legislation that enriches Texas children, families, and communities.
Johnson and his organization come at their mission in a way that is very different from  that of other Christian faith leaders who support the use of public funds for private and religious education through voucher and similar programs. He doesn’t, and he has been a powerful voice in support of traditional public education in Texas. And that has made him a target for people who oppose his views, which Johnson addressed in a post this month on the organization’s website:
We believe public education is a provision of God’s common good. Our faith leads us to this conviction. All children, regardless of race, religion, or economics, deserves a quality education. It is the great democratic equalizer in American life. . . .
We are pastors and congregational leaders trying to make Texas a better place for everyone.
So, we must confess that we are taken aback by the acrimony and bitterness on the part of some public policy stakeholders toward our mission. We have been accused of being “in the pocket of the teacher unions” (we do not have unions in Texas), a “front organization for the Democratic Party” (most of our pastors are from rural communities well associated with the Republican Party), and “fake pastors” by a sitting member of the House of Representatives (overworked pastors know all too well how “real” our calling is.)
Now we are being labeled as “corrupt pastors” and a “fraud” by a group active in Texas policy debates.
We have not responded to these attacks. We are seasoned pastors not unaccustomed to criticism. Our Lord counseled his disciples, “Beware when all speak well of you.” Last we checked, our 8500 public schools, 5.4 million Texas schoolchildren, and 750,000 plus public school teachers and employees need us focused on them — not on a few naysayers.
But, we are compelled by the truth of God and the integrity of God’s mission for us now to confront what is a ludicrous lie. Can we not have a debate about school funding, vouchers, our social contract, and the public trust without this sophomoric name-calling?
We are simply congregational leaders trying to protect and preserve public education for all Texas children, as the Texas Constitution in Article 7, Section 1 clearly spells out: “It shall be the duty of the Legislature of this State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” It is to this constitutional conservatism that we as faith leaders are committed.
Here is an interview with Johnson conducted by Jennifer Berkshire, the education editor at AlterNet and the co-host of a biweekly podcast on education in the time of President Trump. Berkshire worked for six years editing a newspaper for the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts. This piece first appeared on AlterNet and Berkshire gave The Washington Post permission to publish it.

Texas Public School Students Are Learning Ethnic Studies Topics, Despite The State School Board

Learn about the flowering of Ethnic Studies in Austin, Texas from this KUT 90.5 story by reporter, Kate Groetzinger.  A couple of Andrea Gaines' students from LBJ High School—different from the ones featured here in this news story—came and spoke to both of my graduate classes at UT this semester and they spoke so positively and powerfully about their Ethnic Studies course. 

At the beginning of the first class, one of them wasn't sure whether she would go to college. By the end of the day on her way home, she was already talking about going to graduate school! The research supports exactly this kind of benefit and outcome to Ethnic Studies that are well designed and taught. We need these classes everywhere, at every grade level.

A final important point for those that might be even just a little bit wary about the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) approving a "Mexican American Studies," as opposed to an Ethnic Studies course like the one that is getting taught in AISD as a special topics course, is that those of us involved in this movement very much seek inclusion of African American Studies, Asian American Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies, as well.  Women and Gender Studies and Latin American Studies are other vital areas that merit inclusion.

To a person, we as advocates for Mexican American Studies see ourselves as not solelyy addressing the wishes and desires of a growing Mexican American demographic, but also creating a template for accomplishing respectful and substantive inclusion in our state's curriculum this through the policy process itself.  If you have kept up with this, it has been a long and winding road. We are hopeful in a good outcome at the January, 2018 meeting of the Texas SBOE.

We are hopeful in a future that incorporates all of our histories, stories, and lived experiences together with critical frameworks that allow our youth to not only find themselves in history, but also to evolve identities as makers of history, too.

In addition to the story below, I encourage you to hear the story here..

Angela Valenzuela

Andrea Gaines in front of her classroom whiteboard.
Andrea Gaines in front of her classroom whiteboard.
Kate Groetzinger

Texas Public School Students Are Learning Ethnic Studies Topics, Despite The State School Board

From Texas Standard.
Earlier this month, the Texas State Board of Education rejected a Mexican-American studies textbook, leaving public school teachers without state-approved materials to teach the topic. But that doesn’t mean schools can’t offer ethnic studies courses. In fact, a handful of public schools across the state have elective courses on ethnic studies topics, which are designed by local teachers and administrators with little direction from the state.
Lyndon B. Johnson Early College High School is one of eight schools in the Austin Independent School District offering an ethnic studies course for the first time this year. Andrea Gaines and a few other Austin ISD teachers worked over the summer to create a curriculum for the course. It relies heavily on primary sources and graphic novels to introduce students to alternative narratives in American history. Last week, Gaines asked her class to reflect on what they’ve learned so far this year. Dawnye McKee’s answer? Everything she didn’t learn in American History.

Listen to story here..

“I feel like we’ve learned things that we don’t usually learn. Cause I mean we’ve all taken history before. So we’ve learned things we didn’t even touch on when we took the required history,” McKee says.
Gaines’ class roughly reflects the demographics of LBJ’s student body, which is 60 percent Hispanic, 36 percent African-American and 2 percent Caucasian. She says the class has been especially interesting to students at LBJ because the school building also houses a majority-Caucasian magnet school on the floor above.
“I think it’s been really healthy for students to have space to be really open and understand all the structural things that have created these two schools and a lot of the feelings they’ve had their whole high school experience,” Gaines says.
In her class, Gaines covers topics including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Both of those topics concern students of color in America gaining access to education. Dawnye McKee says this material has made her enjoy a subject she used to hate.
“Honestly, I’m gonna tell the truth,” McKee says. “I always hated history. Because I think that like, you know, I choose to remember things that are important to me and I never felt like any of that was important to me as an individual.”
Though this course doesn’t have a state-approved textbook, it does meet state requirements. Jessica Jolliffe made sure of that. She’s the social studies supervisor for Austin ISD. She had teachers in the district work with professors from the University of Texas at Austin to create an ethnic studies curriculum that aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS, requirements for special topics in social studies.
“So the special topics TEKS don’t call out specific people, or specific groups, or specific time periods. They don’t reference specific events. It’s all very general. So it’s easy to fit what we want to do in ethnic studies into those TEKS,” she says.
Jolliffe says she also reached out to Houston ISD, which has offered a course in Mexican-American Studies for the last few years. The Texas Education Agency approved it as an Innovative Course, which is a designation the state Board of Eduction created to allow schools to offer courses that go beyond what’s required by TEKS. Douglas Torres-Edwards is the former director of Social Studies for Houston ISD.
“It’s an innovative course that was approved as Mexican-American studies. It’s a stand-alone course that TEA has now approved for use, not only in Houston ISD, but as other districts may be interested, they can also adopt our learning objectives and offer a bona fide Mexican-American Studies course as well,” he says.
To use Houston’s innovative Mexican-American studies course, school districts just need to vote to approve it. Torres-Edwards worries that could be restrictive. He cites what happened in Arizona, where state legislators voted in 2010 to ban the teaching of ethnic studies. That law was in place until a federal judge ruled this August that the ban was unconstitutional. Angela Valenzuela, a professor of Mexican American Studies at UT-Austin, testified in the Arizona case. She was also involved in developing the ethnic studies course for Austin ISD.
“This all goes back ultimately to the late ’60s and ’70s, when the ethnic studies movements were very strong. But there’s been kind of a hiatus, for a number of reasons, but Arizona was I think what inspired everybody,” Valenzuela says.
Valenzuela believes the Arizona ruling helped push the Texas Board of Education to change its stance on ethnic studies materials and courses. After voting against approving a Mexican-American studies course in 2014, the state board put out a call for textbook submissions. Board member Marisa Perez says that didn’t yield the results they’d hoped for. Now, they’re back at square one. Perez says the board has added a discussion of developing a Mexican-American studies course to its January agenda.
“It seems like something has happened and there is an appetite for it among the board. I hope that that rings true,” Perez says.
There’s certainly an appetite among students, as Gaines’ ethnic studies class in Austin shows.
“There’s just like total enthusiasm and emotional engagement and intellectual engagement, so I think in that sense it’s a dream to teach,” Gaines says.
If the board decides to develop a Mexican-American studies course, it would be available to any public school in the state that wants to offer it.

Copyright 2017 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thank you Charles Butt

All to public schools and public school leadership, none to hokey charters, vouchers, or any other nonsense schemes.

"Butt's headline effort this year, though, has been to reinforce his longstanding efforts to improve the quality of education in Texas public schools. To that end, he contributed an astonishing $150 million this year in new programs for administrator development and teacher scholarships."

Charles Butt Helps Texas

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Trump Administration’s Decision to End TPS for Haitians is Misguided, Discriminatory and Encourages other Governments to Reject Migrants

It's disgusting to see this president and his administration carry out his ethnic cleansing policies. The meanness and inhumanity of Trump's decision to end Temporary Protective Status to Haitians that pose no threat to our country is beyond measure and can only be attributed to racism against Black people.  We desperately need to get this president and his party out of office.  -Angela   
WOLA Press Release
November 21, 2017

Trump Administration’s Decision to End TPS for Haitians is Misguided, Discriminatory and Encourages other Governments to Reject Migrants

Washington, DC—On November 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an end to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, many of whom sought refuge in the United States after devastating natural disasters in Haiti. With this decision, over 50,000 Haitians and their children, some 30,000 of whom were born in the United States, will lose protected status and face deportation effective July 2019. Just prior to the official announcement, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), along with civil society representatives of all faiths and creeds, urged DHS to reconsider the decision.
“Revoking TPS for Haitians is a sad reflection of the ways in which U.S. immigration policy has historically discriminated against people of color and people of African descent," said Gimena Sánchez, Senior Associate at the Washington Office on Latin America, a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the hemisphere. "There is no reason to criminalize, stigmatize, or deport the Haitians who benefitted from TPS. Doing so will break up tens of thousands of families, and will kill the hopes and dreams of so many who have made the United States their home. Children educated in the United States, who otherwise had bright futures ahead of them, will be devastated as they are forced to return to a country they have never known.”
Besides sending the wrong message about U.S. values, this decision will only encourage other nations in the Western Hemisphere to close their doors to Haitians and other migrants in need. Trump’s stigmatization of migrants has arguably already had a ripple effect across the region: the Bahamas recently decided to force all undocumented persons, many of whom are Haitian, to leave the country by the end of the year; while Argentina is implementing an increasingly restrictive immigration policy. The U.S. move to end TPS may have particularly serious repercussions in the Dominican Republic, a country that cruelly stripped Dominicans of Haitian descent of their citizenship in 2013, regardless of how many generations had lived there, leaving hundreds of thousands of people stateless. With the situation far from resolved, the Dominican Republic’s anti-immigrant hardliners will likely be further emboldened by the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies, as will many other like-minded ideologues in the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti’s new leadership has already expressed concern about its capacity to absorb those expelled from the United States. The country is simply not prepared to accept and integrate large waves of U.S. deportees, given its ongoing humanitarian crisis. Nearly 800,000 Haitians have contracted cholera since 2010, and access to clean water remains limited due to the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Additionally, local security personnel will face significant challenges in maintaining order across the country, given the recent withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers.

"With most nations, even Canada, reluctant to welcome those unwilling to return to Haiti’s grinding poverty, where will all of these people go? Expelling them from the United States will have massive humanitarian and logistical costs. It will likely generate an underclass of people who choose to stay in the United States living in fear, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Haitians who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may also face increased mistreatment, division, and suspicion. Ending TPS for Haitians is an unjustified act of cruelty against a group of people that the U.S. government has now deemed undesirable," said Sánchez.
Loren Riesenfeld
WOLA Communications Officer
+1 (202) 797-2171

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